DEEPAVALI By Sri Swami Sivananda

DEEPAVALI or Diwali means “a row of lights”. It falls on the last two days of the dark half of Kartik (October-November). For some it is a three-day festival. It commences with the Dhan-Teras, on the 13th day of the dark half of Kartik, followed the next day by the Narak Chaudas, the 14th day, and by Deepavali proper on the 15th day.

There are various alleged origins attributed to this festival. Some hold that they celebrate the marriage of Lakshmi with Lord Vishnu. In Bengal the festival is dedicated to the worship of Kali. It also commemorates that blessed day on which the triumphant Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya after defeating Ravana. On this day also Sri Krishna killed the demon Narakasura.

In South India people take an oil bath in the morning and wear new clothes. They partake of sweetmeats. They light fireworks which are regarded as the effigies of Narakasura who was killed on this day. They greet one another, asking, “Have you had your Ganges bath?” which actually refers to the oil bath that morning as it is regarded as purifying as a bath in the holy Ganges.

Everyone forgets and forgives the wrongs done by others. There is an air of freedom, festivity and friendliness everywhere. This festival brings about unity. It instils charity in the hearts of people. Everyone buys new clothes for the family. Employers, too, purchase new clothes for their employees.

Waking up during the Brahmamuhurta (at 4a.m.) is a great blessing from the standpoint of health, ethical discipline, efficiency in work and spiritual advancement. It is on Deepavali that everyone wakes up early in the morning. The sages who instituted this custom must have cherished the hope that their descendents would realise its benefits and make it a regular habit in their lives.

In a happy mood of great rejoicing village folk move about freely, mixing with one another without any reserve, all enmity being forgotten. People embrace one another with love. Deepavali is a great unifying force. Those with keen inner spiritual ears will clearly hear the voice of the sages, “O Children of God! unite, and love all”. The vibrations produced by the greetings of love which fill the atmosphere are powerful enough to bring about a change of heart in every man and woman in the world. Alas! That heart has considerably hardened, and only a continuous celebration of Deepavali in our homes can rekindle in us the urgent need of turning away from the ruinous path of hatred.

On this day Hindu merchants in North India open their new account books and pray for success and prosperity during the coming year. The homes are cleaned and decorated by day and illuminated by night with earthern oil-lamps. The best and finest illuminations are to be seen in Bombay and Amritsar. The famous Golden Temple at Amritsar is lit in the evening with thousands of lamps placed all over the steps of the big tank. Vaishnavites celebrate the Govardhan Puja and feed the poor on a large scale.

O Ram! The light of lights, the self-luminous inner light of the Self is ever shining steadily in the chamber of your heart. Sit quietly. Close your eyes. Withdraw the senses. Fix the mind on this supreme light and enjoy the real Deepavali, by attaining illumination of the soul.

He who Himself sees all but whom no one beholds, who illumines the intellect, the sun, the moon and the stars and the whole universe but whom they cannot illumine, He indeed is Brahman, He is the inner Self. Celebrate the real Deepavali by living in Brahman, and enjoy the eternal bliss of the soul.

The sun does not shine there, nor do the moon and the stars, nor do lightnings shine and much less fire. All the lights of the world cannot be compared even to a ray of the inner light of the Self. Merge yourself in this light of lights and enjoy the supreme Deepavali.

Many Deepavali festivals have come and gone. Yet the hearts of the vast majority are as dark as the night of the new moon. The house is lit with lamps, but the heart is full of the darkness of ignorance. O man! wake up from the slumber of ignorance. Realise the constant and eternal light of the Soul which neither rises nor sets, through meditation and deep enquiry.

May you all attain full inner illumination! May the supreme light of lights enlighten your understanding! May you all attain the inexhaustible spiritual wealth of the Self! May you all prosper gloriously on the material as well as spiritual planes!

(pgs. 4-8, Hindu Fasts and Festivals)

"Temptation" by Swami Chidananda

Vibrant spiritual presence, beloved and worshipful Gurudev! Adorable Presence Divine, Thou Who art the all-pervading, the all-immanent, our source and origin, our support and inner sustainer, our fulfilment and Goal Ultimate! One Thou art—manifest as Guru, unmanifest as the Universal Being. Gurur-brahma gurur-vishnuh gurur-devo mahesvarah; guruh sakshat param brahma tasmai sri gurave namah (Guru is Brahma, Guru is Vishnu, Guru is Siva, Guru is the Supreme Brahman Itself—prostrations to that Guru).

Thus those who have realised through their highest transcendental spiritual experience the oneness, the inseparable unity of the illumined and enlightened jnani and the Supreme Brahman, have uttered this sublime ideal: yasya deve para bhaktih yatha deve tatha gurau, tasyaite kathita hyarthah prakasante mahatmanah (He whose devotion to God is supreme and whose devotion to the Guru is as great as to the Lord, to that high-souled one all the knowledge of the scriptures stands revealed). The path-pointer, the remover of the veil and the truth hidden behind the veil, the destination to which the path leads—they are linked up and bound up by a relationship of identity and unity.

Knowing this, vibrant spiritual presence, Gurudev, in whose proximity and before whom we have come this beautiful day, and adorable Divine Presence, Who art the all-pervading, the all-immanent, alpha and omega, the beginning and end of all things, we bow to Thee, two in one. We bow to Thee, offer our heart’s devotion, our gratitude for this perennial flow of continued grace, for the gift of proximity, the grace of spiritual fellowship and the blessedness of this silent hour of meditation and prayer to commence the day in an ideal way. May your benedictions and grace be our wealth and our treasure, our sure support and strength, our unfailing help and light upon the path!

Radiant Immortal Atman! Beloved seekers and sadhaks! Great is your good fortune, unparalleled is your supreme good fortune. Most blessed are you, thrice blessed, even more so. Sankara spoke of three blessings: human birth, longing for liberation and the proximity of liberated sages, spiritual masters and their wisdom teachings. We have a fourth blessedness which makes the other three blessednesses worthwhile and fruitful: that is an environment and a facility affording every favourable factor for the practice of the living of the inner life, practice of spiritual discipline, contemplating the Divine and engaging in sadhana, a facility affording every factor that is necessary, helpful and favourable.

If you reflect upon it seriously, contemplate it earnestly, consider it with great sincerity, you will be amazed and you will start wondering what you have done for this unutterable, unparalleled, incomparable good fortune. This four-fold blessedness conferred upon you in this age, which they call the iron age, the godless age, the age of materialism, hedonism, atheism—in this age, if you will consider your unique position, then it will percolate into your mind, you will begin to wonder, and then you will understand what ahetuki kripa, motiveless grace is.

Turn to God with sincerity. Turn to God for help and you will receive it. Turn to Him day after day. Meditate. Direct your mind, focus your heart and meditate upon Him with faith, with love and with humility. What you ask for shall never be denied.

But then, as we have to contend with God, we also have to contend with our own unregenerate, self-assertive, persistent, die-hard, lesser nature, the animal in man. As we have to connect ourselves with God, we have also to contend with ourselves, our grosser, lower, unspiritual, carnal nature—carnal passion, physical appetites, lust, greed, and anger which is inseparably linked up with carnal passion and desire. These are the dire enemies of the sadhak upon the spiritual path, hard to overcome, but not impossible. It is possible.

Jahi satrum mahabaho kamarupam durasadam (Slay thou, O Arjuna, the enemy in the form of desire which is hard to conquer). This is the fact, this is the ades (command): “O Arjuna, slay this enemy, great enemy, in the form of impure desire, carnal passion and physical lust.” It is formidable, but slay it. It is difficult to overcome, but can be overcome.

Therefore, the seeking soul should never lay down his arms before this enemy and surrender—never, never! But more often than not, not recognising this foe, this enemy, we think it is our well-wisher, friend. We befriend it. Such is the beguiling, alluring nature of this dire enemy. The devil comes as an angel; the poison comes as delicious sweetness. It is only one who is on guard, it is one who is awake, standing ready for action, that can contend with this enemy within one’s own self. Uttisthata jagrata (Arise, awake).

Kamah krodhascha lobhascha dehe tisthanti taskarah jnanaratnapaharaya tasmat jagrata jagrata—Lust anger and greed, they are dacoits to rob and plunder the pearl of wisdom, not coming from outside to assail or invade you, but residing within your own body. Therefore, be awake, be awake,” says Sankaracharya in Vairagya Dindima. But such is the folly, the ignorance, such is the extraordinary delusion, the perverse nature of deluded seekers, that seeing not the enemy about whom ample warning is given again and again by all masters, all teachers, all Gurus, all saints and sages from the most ancient times up till Gurudev himself, we go into the camp of the enemy as though it was our well-wisher, our friend.
We invite temptations; we go into that area where we are tempted. We cultivate the company of such persons who are our temptation, who are our downfall, who are the ones through whom these lower propensities assail us, by whom they are stimulated and made manifest.

Therefore, a wise seeker, a true aspirant, an authentic, genuine Yogi, a true lover of God, will and must shun those persons and places where temptation lies—not rush in where angels fear to tread. It is only if you are true to yourself, honest with your teacher, and before the eyes of God you are His child, His devotee, His lover, then alone these teachings will mean a turning point to you, these teachings can transform you once and for all.

Turn to God for help and you will receive it without fail, unfailingly. Turn to Him every day in meditation—meditation with faith, meditation with love, meditation with humility. And be on guard against these inner enemies to which you are host, inner enemies dwelling within your self, meaning you no good. This is the mystery of God and His creation, the great maya which is duratyaya (difficult to cross). Be on guard, never lay down arms, never give way. Always know that one day you have to overcome and you will overcome.

Nothing is more formidable than intense aspiration, mumukshutva. Nothing is more powerful than the power of faith and determination, sattvic determination. Nothing is more powerful than the Name of God. Nothing is more powerful than sincerity. Everything can be overcome. But then, you should not multiply, you should not strengthen the enemy, you should not run into his camp and then bewail. It is futile, in vain. For our undoing will be ourselves and not anyone else.

With all the four blessednesses, nothing will avail if you are not true to yourself and if you are not determined to avoid all such places and all such persons that constitute your temptation—morning, noon and night, every hour of every day of this golden gift of God, this piece of life we call a day. If you make each day given to you through His unutterable love, immeasurable love, a day of alertness, vigilance, watchfulness, wakefulness, a day of sincerity, earnest determination, true aspiration, a day of genuine love for God, then each day you will be a step nearer to that grand, glorious goal of life. Thus, day by day, living in a perfect way, making it divine, a life sublime, bless yourself, bless yourself, bless yourself! In this task, God speed you! In this task, Gurudev bless you!

(Chap. 35, Ponder These Truths)

“Why Has God Created This World” by Swami Sivananda

The universe is a mystery. No one can say how it came to be.

You will find in the Rig-Veda: “Who knows here, who can here state whence came all this multifarious universe? Even the Devas are posterior to its creation; who then knows whence this came out?”.

Some hold that the universe was created out of nothing by a fiat of God and that it will again lapse into nothing at the period of deluge. This dogma of creation ex nihilo is not endorsed by scientists. They say emphatically that what exists now should have existed always and will continue to exist always in some form or the other. In Sankhya philosophy also you will find: “That which is cannot come out of that which is not”. The Gita also states: “There can be no existence out of non-existence, nor can the existent cease to be. The truth about both has been perceived by seers”.

Something cannot come out of nothing. Something can come out of something only.

The grass comes out of the earth and is absorbed into the earth. Even so, this universe comes out of Brahman, rests in Brahman, and dissolves in Brahman.

The Cause of This Universe
In the beginning, Brahman who is one without a second, alone exists. When darkness was rolling over darkness, there was existence alone.

In Brahman, there was a Spandana or vibration before the world was projected. This is the Sankalpa of Brahman. He thought or willed: “Ekoham Bahu Syam: I am one; may I become many”. This vibration corresponds to the bulging of the seed within the ground when it is soaked with water. Then the whole world was projected.

When an ordinary, meagre juggler can bring forth mangoes, fruits, money, sweetmeats, an imaginary palace, etc., through Indrajala or Sammohana-vidya, can He—the omnipotent, omniscient Ruler—not create this insignificant world for His own play? When a mortal king adorns his palace with furniture, pictures, curios, garden, fountain, etc., can He not furnish this world with beautiful landscape, brilliant sun, moon and stars, mighty rivers and oceans?

Nature of the Creative Process
This visible world is God’s jugglery. This world is not chaos. It is an organised, divine institution. The world is a shadow of God.

Brahman creates this unthinkable universe through His illusive power of Maya for His own Lila or sporting. The phenomenon of this universe is due to the power called Maya, by which the Absolute, without undergoing any change in or by Itself, appears as an ever-changing succession of phenomena conditioned by time and space.

Brahman has projected this universe without being affected in any way. The Absolute is not affected by the world-process that is going on within It, just as the rains from a cloud do not wet the sky. The one Brahman, through His Sakti, can put on all these countless names and forms and appear as many. There is no change in Himself. The world is mere appearance.

Brahman does not require any instruments or hands for making these forms. He is Chaitanya, self-luminous intelligence. By mere willing, He can bring forth countless worlds.

Just as the potentiality of a seed brings forth a tree, so also, the Svabhava or potentiality of Brahman brings forth this universe. Projection co-exists with existence.

God and the Universe
This whole universe is the body of God. This entire world is God or Virat-Svarupa.

This world is not a world of dead matter, but a living Presence. Brahman or the Absolute manifests Itself as the universe through forms.

Creation is a joyous self-expression of the One.

A king played the part of a beggar for his own sporting. A sage played the part of a fool for his own sporting. Even so, this world is a sport or Lila of Brahman.

Brahman appears as the world. It is Brahman alone that shines as the world of variegated objects. Brahman Himself appears as stone, tree, stars, etc. The One Consciousness alone appears as the universe of plurality.
Just as one man alone becomes many in dream, so also the one God exists as many.

The whole universe is Brahman only in essence. All this is Brahman only, appearing in Brahman and through Brahman.

Earth, food, fire and sun are forms of Brahman. East, west, north and south are parts of the Lord. The sky, heaven, ocean are portions of Brahman.

Breath is a part of Brahman. Sight is a part of Brahman. Hearing is a part of Brahman. Mind is a part of Brahman. This life is Brahman. Brahman or Truth is the essence in which the universe has its being, from which it is born, and in which it dissolves at the end of each world-cycle.

An effect does not exist apart from its cause. A pot does not exist apart from clay. This universe does not exist apart from Brahman. It has no independent existence. It is one with Brahman.

If you have a candle light, and from it you light a thousand other candles, is not the first light in all the other candles? So it is with God. Creating all things, He is in all by spirit, breath and being.

The world is charged with the splendour, glory and grandeur of God. Just as sugar-cane juice pervades the sugar-cane, just as salt pervades the water when a lump of salt is dissolved in it, just as butter pervades milk, so also, Brahman pervades all the objects, animate or inanimate.

Brahman is one. Manifestation is many. One has become many.

As from a blazing fire, sparks all similar to one another, come forth in thousands, so also, from the one imperishable Brahman proceed all breathing animals, all worlds, all the gods, and all beings.

Evolution of the Elements
By dint of His will, the Lord, the undecaying substratum or reality of the universe, gave the first impetus to Nature to shake off her state of primal equipoise and to be gradually and successfully evolved into those categories and elements which were necessary for the formation of the present universe.

The first evolute is Akasa. Why should Akasa be the first evolute? Because, without space, nothing can exist. Prana acted on Akasa. There was Spandana or vibration. Wherever there is vibration, there must be motion. Motion is the quality of air. Therefore, air came out of Akasa. Motion produced heat. Therefore, fire was born of Vayu or air. When there is heat, water is produced. On a hot day, the body perspires. Hence, water was born of fire. Wherever there is water, there is food. Earth is Annam or food. Therefore, earth was born of water.

The subtler the element, the more powerful it is. Water is more powerful than earth, because it is more subtle than earth. Water removes away earth. Fire is more powerful than water, because it is more subtle than water. Fire dries up all water. Air is more powerful than fire, because it is more subtle than fire. Air blows up fire. Ether or Akasa is more powerful than air, because it is more subtle than air. Air rests in Akasa. Akasa is the support for air. Air is born of Akasa, fire is born of air, water is born of fire, earth is born of water. During cosmic Pralaya, earth is reduced or involved into water, water into fire, fire into air, and air into Akasa.
The whole world, the gross bodies of the four kinds of beings, viz., Udbhija or the seed-born, Svedaja or those born of sweat, oviparous or those born of egg, and viviparous or those born of placenta, and all objects of enjoyment are formed out of the five elements.

The Doctrine of Ajati-vada
As people with gross minds cannot grasp the theory of Ajati-vada or non creation, this kind of Srishti-krama is given. If you study the doctrine of Ajati-vada, propounded by Gaudapada in his Karika, you will find that this world does not exist in the past, present and future. This doctrine can be understood only by high-class aspirants who lead a life of seclusion and meditation.

If you remain in Allahabad for six months, you forget all about your native place which is Madras. There is no Madras for you while you live in Allahabad, and there is no Allahabad for you while you live in Madras. This world is a mere collection of Samskaras created by the mind.

If you can consciously destroy the mind by Sadhana and Samadhi, the world vanishes. It is all Brahman only. You shut yourself in a room for a fortnight, give up reading newspapers, engage yourself in deep meditation, and see whether there is world or not.

World is Mental Creation
It is only the waking state that brings before us this creation. This universe is nothing but a mode of the mind, self-evolved from Brahman, the cause of the universe.

The motion or vibration of Prana moves the mind. The movement of the mind generates the universe. The mind manifests itself as the external world. Names and forms arise owing to Vikshepa Sakti, one of the powers of Maya. The Vikshepa force operates both in the Jagrat and in the Svapna states. The whole world is projected on account of this power only. In sleep, it disappears.

In the deep sleep state you have no experience of the world, because there is no mind. This clearly shows that there will be world only if there is mind and that the mind alone creates this world.

World is mental creation. There is no world in sleep. There is no world in Samadhi. There is no world for a sage. That is the reason why the Srutis declare that this world is Manomatra Jagat, Manah-Kalpita Jagat.
This ever-agitated Manas, having come into existence out of the ineffable Brahman, creates the world according to its own Sankalpa or thoughts. This legerdemain of the universe springs out of the Sankalpa of Manas. It is through the Sankalpa of your Manas that the universe appears to be and it is this Sankalpa that is asked to be given up by you if you wish to soar to the One Reality beyond the universe.

With the growth of a paltry Sankalpa, there will arise the universe; with the extinction of the former, the latter will also disappear. With the annihilation of Sankalpa, all conception of differences between the seer and the seen will vanish, and then the Reality of Brahman will begin to shine uninterruptedly. Then the shadow of all the universe, movable and fixed, will be found absorbed in It in a non-dual state.

When the mind ceases to think, the world vanishes, and there is bliss indescribable. When the mind begins to think, immediately the world reappears, and there is suffering.

With the contemplation of ‘I’, all the train of ideas of the universe will set in; otherwise all the universe will vanish as instantaneously as darkness before the sun. Mind and ‘I’ are one. Destroy the ‘I’; then the mind is destroyed. If the mind, which is the instrument of knowledge, perception and activity, vanishes, with it disappears this subjective world also.

The Cosmic Drama
This phenomenal universe is but an outcome of the Divine Will, seeming to be real through the workings of the mind.

Before you write out a drama, you have a vivid mental picture of the whole drama in your mind. Then you write it out in succession in four acts. When it is staged, it is acted in succession, part by part. Similarly, the universe and its movements are a vivid mental picture in the Cosmic Mind, in the mind of Isvara.

There is neither ‘past’ nor ‘future’ for Him. Everything is ‘present’ for Him. There is neither ‘near’ nor ‘far’ for Him.. Every place is ‘here’. Every time is ‘now’. The events come out in succession on the stage of the long world-drama as Time rolls on.

Atoms rotate continuously. Old becomes new and new becomes old. In reality, there is no such thing as old; there is no such thing as new. The Jivas with individual minds are witnessing the events in succession. But the Isvara knows all events at one sweep. He is all-knowing. He is all-understanding also. He knows every detail of His creation.

This vast sense-universe shines as Atma-sankalpa. The Cosmic Mind creates the Maya. Individual minds receive things under delusion.

Why Has God Created This World?
The answers to the question, “Why has God created the world?, are very unsatisfactory. For His own glorification? We cannot attribute to Him so much vanity. By love of mankind? How may He love a thing before it exists and how may it be called love to create millions for misery and eternal pain? The creation of the world is a moral necessity. It is to give fruits for enjoyment to the souls and to help them attain God-realisation. God’s desire for His creation is to provide all that is needed to bring His creation into an awareness of Himself.

The question, “Why has God created the world?”, is an Ati-prasna or transcendental question. The finite mind cannot give a proper answer. The reason can give answers only to worldly questions. The question itself is wrong.

What is the cause for Avidya, Maya, and Samsara? This is an Ati-prasna. In enquiring the cause, you abuse your innate mental organ of causality to penetrate into a region for which it is not made and where it is no more available. You are here in ignorance, pain and misery. You know the way out of them. The question of a cause for them is senseless.

A finite mind that is gross and conditioned by time, space and causation cannot comprehend the why and how of the universe, a question that is transcendental. The question has never been answered by anybody, by, any Sastra, by any sage or Acharya. Do not rack your mind on this point. You can never get a solution for this problem. It is Mouja of Brahman to create this universe. It is His Lila-vilasa. It is His Maya. It is His Svabhava (innate nature).

You simply waste your energy and time by entering into hot discussions regarding the question, “Why has God created this world? Is the world real or unreal?”. It would matter nothing to you whether the world be real or not. You will not gain anything substantial by entering into such controversies. You will have to dive deep into the chamber of your heart by withdrawing the mind and the outgoing senses to rest in the Supreme Self. Give up, therefore, these useless discussions and proceed straightaway in the quest of the Self and Its realisation. Instead of counting the number of the leaves in a tree, try to eat the fruits directly. Try to enjoy the eternal bliss of the Self by realisation. This is wisdom.

God Only Is: the World Is Not
There is only the eternal Brahman in truth. Nothing else really exists. Only Brahman, the absolute, undifferentiated mass of Satchidananda, exists.

Creation is a dream. Waking also is a dream. The body is a dream.

The whole world is an utter untruth. This world is utterly non-existent. Sensual enjoyments are like fondling the son of a barren woman in dream.

Heaven, Moksha and world are mere words only, just like the son of a barren woman.

Everything is a great delusion. There is neither dream nor deep sleep, neither heaven nor emancipation. The truth is that everything is the Peace and Bliss of Eternity.

Nothing here is ever born; nothing here ever dies. The subject of instruction, and the purpose, of all teachings is only a play of words or sounds.

The infinite which is both inside and outside appears as this world through space and time.
Brahman appears as the world. World is mere appearance. It is like snake in the rope, like water in the mirage, like blueness in the sky.

The snake appears because of the ignorance of the rope; when the rope is known, the snake disappears. The world appears because of the ignorance of the Self; it does not appear when there is Knowledge of Atman.
When one forgets Himself, Brahman appears to him as the universe. When one is established in one’s own Self, the universe appears as the Brahman.

Know the Truth
If you attain Knowledge of the Self, the meaning of life will cease to be a mystery. You will clearly understand the why and how of this universe. The purpose and progress in the scheme of things will become clear to you. All transcendental things will be known to you like the apple in the palm of your hand.

Withdraw. Meditate. Dive deep into the recesses of your heart. You will have awareness of a Reality, very different from empirical reality, a timeless, spaceless, changeless Reality. You will feel and experience that whatever is outside of this only true Reality is mere appearance, is Maya, is a dream.

Know the Truth, the Absolute. You are saved. You are liberated. You are enlightened. You are free.

You can know Brahman only by becoming Brahman. To become Brahman is to identify yourself with the divine element—the Supreme Soul—which constitutes your essential nature. The Knower of Brahman becomes Brahman. The river joins the ocean and becomes one with the ocean. The drop mixes with the sea and becomes one with the sea.

(pgs. 77-85, Bliss Divine)

Rituals in Hinduism… Lower Bhakti Vs Higher Bhakti

The following is an excerpt from Srila Sri Sivananda Maharaj’s “All About Hinduism” (pg. 119-120, Chap. 7)
From Ritualistic Bhakti To Para-Bhakti
Bhakti is of two kinds, viz., higher Bhakti or Para-Bhakti, and lower Bhakti or ritualistic Bhakti. Ritualistic worship is Vaidhi or Gauni Bhakti. It is formal Bhakti. Vaidhi Bhakti is the lower type of devotion depending on external aids. The mind becomes purer and purer. The aspirant gradually develops love for God through ritualistic worship. He who does ritualistic worship rings bells, adores a Pratika (symbol) or Pratima (image), does Puja with flowers and sandal paste, burns incense, waves light before the image, offers Naivedya or food for God, etc.Mukhya Bhakti or Para Bhakti is advanced type of devotion. It is higher Bhakti. It transcends all convention. A devotee of this type knows no rule. He does not perform any external worship. He beholds his Lord everywhere, in every object. His heart is saturated with love for God. The whole world is Vrindavana for him. His state is ineffable. He attains the acme of bliss. He radiates love, purity and joy wherever he goes and inspires all who come in contact with him.

The aspirant who worships the idol in the beginning beholds the Lord everywhere and develops Para Bhakti. From Vaidhi Bhakti, he passes on to Ragatmika Bhakti or Prema Bhakti. He beholds the whole world as the Lord. The ideas of good and bad, right and wrong, etc., vanish. He sees the Lord in a rogue, dacoit, cobra, scorpion, ant, dog, tree, log of wood, block of stone, sun, moon, stars, fire, water, earth, etc. His vision or experience baffles description. Glory to such exalted Bhaktas who are veritable Gods on earth, who live to lift others from the quagmire of Samsara and save them from the clutches of death!

Hinduism leads the aspirants gradually from material images to mental images, from the diverse mental-images to the one Personal God, and from the Personal God to the Impersonal Absolute or the Transcendental Nirguna Brahman.